Natural Hazards

, Volume 78, Issue 1, pp 333–354 | Cite as

Slushflows: science and planning considerations for an expanding hazard

  • Grace Relf
  • James M. Kendra
  • Robert M. Schwartz
  • Daniel J. Leathers
  • Delphis F. Levia
Original Paper


Slushflows are natural hazards that pose considerable danger to communities across the globe. These events are characterized by the rapid mass movement of water-inundated snow downslope, and they cause economic damage as well as fatalities in many different climates and regions. As the global climate changes and human populations and industries potentially expand to higher latitudes, it will be important to fully understand the slushflow hazard since an anticipated increase in the frequency of rain-on-snow events and an earlier spring thaw would likely increase the probability of slushflows. This article: (1) summarizes the factors that favor the development of slushflows; (2) discusses the hazard management implications of slushflows; (3) examines the policies employed to prevent and mitigate slushflow damage; and (4) sets out the need for modifications in hazard management systems. Conclusions drawn hope to address future research needs in an effort to create policies that better suit the needs of at-risk communities.


Snow Rain Rain-on-snow Slushflow Vulnerability Hazard management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grace Relf
    • 1
    • 6
  • James M. Kendra
    • 2
  • Robert M. Schwartz
    • 3
  • Daniel J. Leathers
    • 4
  • Delphis F. Levia
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for Energy and Environmental PolicyUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Disaster Research CenterUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  3. 3.Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy ResearchThe University of AkronAkronUSA
  4. 4.Department of GeographyUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Plant and Soil SciencesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  6. 6.School for International and Public Affairs and the Earth InstituteColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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